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Economy and Regeneration

A 21st Century Economy for all of Wales

The Welsh Government is failing on the economy and regeneration. Our prosperity is not spread evenly across Wales; too much money and too many jobs are based in limited areas of Wales and the quality of our infrastructure is holding us back.

Eluned Parrott AM at British Airways Maintenance Centre

The Welsh economy suffers from the fact that our skills levels are not high enough and our economy is not fit for the 21st Century. Welsh Liberal

Democrats in government will prioritise improving skills for everyone and making sure that we have innovative companies to compete with the best in the world.

Economic diversity will lead to greater security against economic downturn. A new Welsh economy should support all types of business, and balance large anchor companies with the SMEs, social enterprises, mutuals, and co-operatives which are the lifeblood of our economy. We need to build an economy that is based on high technology and world class innovation.

The Welsh Government has dawdled for too long and is yet to produce tangible results in regenerating our economy. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will put councils back in the driving seat for regeneration, allowing better control of how the money is spent and putting local priorities first for regeneration.

In government, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will prioritise...

  • Increasing access to apprenticeships by developing a Widening Access/Schools Liaison programme to introduce apprenticeships as a career option to school pupils, supported by an Apprenticeship Ambassadors programme, encouraging successful current and former apprenticeships to visit schools and talk about their experiences. We would also create a single application process and clearing house system to improve the parity of approach between career routes and develop an applicant support system to tackle disengagement and drop-outs.
  • Making progress on Enterprise Zones in Wales - despite seven being announced by Welsh Labour, no permanent jobs have been created, no bricks have been laid and no targets have been set to judge if the programme is a success or failure.
  • Delivering more money to develop an economy fit for the 21st century. Our Jobs and Growth Innovation Programme would deliver support for high-tech and modern projects, including capital projects, providing short-term seed funding, increasing the number of patents, establishing business mentoring schemes, and upgrading old manufacturing sites for new jobs. Our 2011 Assembly manifesto costed this at £20 million.
  • Requiring the Department for the Economy to assess the impact of its policies on small businesses.
  • Delivering a detailed strategy outlining steps to support Welsh manufacturing.
  • Extending business rate relief to help more community facilities such as post offices, pubs and independent shops.
  • Investing in broadband by bringing in investment from private sources. Examining what support can be offered to businesses to improve their ability to compete worldwide through better access to digital services. We will classify broadband as a utility for planning purposes, so all new developments are designed to accommodate any future broadband provision.
  • Supporting high streets and town centres by freezing business rates for a year, and stopping businesses being adversely penalised by increasing business rates when they improve their premises.
  • Giving councils more powers to require an assessment of the impact large supermarket developments have on local retailing in town centres in the planning process, prepared by an independent assessor.
  • Supporting smaller businesses and social enterprises and enabling them to grow by unbundling Council and Welsh Government contracts into more manageable sections, making it easier for these businesses to compete.
  • Promoting a range of sources of funding for small and start-up businesses, for example through Credit Unions or Funding Circles, a peer-to-peer method of SMEs getting loans from individuals. Establishing a Business Credit Union for Wales.
  • Giving local authorities the responsibility to collect their own business rates and have greater discretion over which properties should not pay rates, based on their knowledge of the local facilities that exist as a lifeline for their community, such as village shops, pubs or post offices.
  • Promoting Wales as a tourist destination to markets overseas and in other parts of Britain and develop a more sustainable tourist base. Developing a major events calendar specifically tasked with bringing major international events to Wales to be broadcast in new markets. Encouraging off-season activities and assisting in creating a wider range of winter activities across Wales, in order to reduce seasonal variations in tourism.

Widening Access to Apprenticeships

Eluned Parrott AM, Welsh Liberal Demcorat Shadow Minister for Enterprise and Business, has authored a paper on how to encourage access to apprenticeships entitled Widening Access to Apprenticeships: Supporting positive choices in post-16 education and training.

Economy Consultation: Building a Stronger Economy

At our Spring Conference in Newport, the Welsh LibDems consulted on our new paper Building a Stronger Economy. We ask the vital question of how we can build a stronger economy for Wales, whilst also encouraging a fairer society. How can we build an economy that works for the benefit of all, that spreads the profits and that is sustainable?

If you would like to comment on this paper, please contact our Policy Team.